Welcome to the third in a series of quick historical primers on this history of synthesizers – these posts will guide you through the evolution of the instruments that make our music what it is today, with an eye on why things behave the way they do.
We also have a full, free e-book on the subject available for download below:
4 – The summer of love (aka acid house and how it changed electronic music making).
The music of the 1960s is forever tied to two things – drugs and the peace movement, and no matter what your view on either one of those subjects, it is impossible to argue that the course of musical evolution would have been the same without them.
With electronic music the major events were in 1988, and it was the advent of warehouse parties, acid house and ecstasy that caused people to approach synths in a different way.
The story of acid house is the story of the 303 – an utterly maligned little box which, through a series of happy accidents, became probably the most revered synth of all time.
Everyone knows the sound, but what is interesting is that the 303 was never intended to sound like THAT. It was, in its conception, an accompaniment instrument for guitar players, and immediately after it’s launch it became apparent that it was one of the most dismal failures in Roland’s history.
Roland’s potential loss ended up being the worlds gain, as a new focus on playability gave musicians instruments that were designed for function as well as form.